For those you interested in how the position of Poet Laureate has taken me by surprise, I will give a few examples.
Tuesday after the Governor's Office published an official news release until Wednesday evening around 9 pm, it felt as if every breath I took was recorded by a reporter, and then for the next six or seven days, I averaged two interviews a day. A coworker complained that over a recent weekend I was on TV news so often that he felt like he was still at work. Of course, there is hyperbole here, but the point is made.
Thursday I checked the count on my website: www.walterbargen.com. For years, the site has pretty much flat-lined until the official announcement. What followed nearly crashed the server that is home to the website. In one 24 hour period, there were 25000 hits from 33 countries.
I was told that radio stations across the state, including rural radio stations, were broadcasting interviews and reading poems that they downloaded from the internet and asking listeners to call in with responses. I was live on a St. Louis station via telephone and interviewed for nearly an hour another station in Columbia. I still have a number interviews yet to be scheduled. the Columbia Tribune is planing a feature in their ovation section before the February 13 ceremony in the rotunda.
I would humbly conclude that the position of Poet Laureate has already achieved a great deal by bringing poetry and literature into the public eye and mind.